David Versus Goliath
1 Samuel 17:32-49
As we study the events described here in I Samuel 17, we see that two nations
are pitted against each other.
Philistia inhabits the territory of land west of Israel.
Since it is west of Israel on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea it cannot expand its territory westward
in that direction.
So, it must look East for more land.
To the East is Israel, occupying the fertile Jordan River valley.
These two nations have been at war with each other off and on for a few hundred years.
Neither one has been able to completely dominate or eliminate the other.
It has been a battle that has seen both sides rise and wane in their attempts to gain more territory
and dominance in the region, depending, for the most part, on the ability of their leader.
At least that is how it is seen from the perspective of the world.
And this battle is no different.
In our Scripture passage we see that the Philistines have entered into Israelite territory
-- the territory belonging to Judah, but coming very close to and encroaching on the territory
of the tribe of Benjamin.
They are there looking to increase their territory and also to place the Israelites in subjection to them.
The Philistines are feeling pretty confident about their chances against the Israelites.
And the reason for their confidence lies in their champion.
His name is Goliath.
This name has ever since then been associated with someone who is tall and large in stature.
With Goliath as their champion, the Philistines feel quite invincible.
With Goliath as their champion, the Philistines feel as if their gods are now smiling favorably upon them,
and will give them victory and dominance over the people of Israel and their god.
That is how the army of the Philistines see it.
Sad to say, that is also how the army of the Israelites saw it also.
They saw Goliath as a big bully, and they were not capable of fighting him.
Why do they still exist?
As David has put it, why are these uncircumcised heathens allowed to set foot on Israelite ground?
This is holy ground.
This ground belongs to the Lord.
Why is someone so vile and so despicable as these Philistines allowed to set foot here?
That offense is compounded by what their champion says.
He curses God.
He diminishes God.
He talks of his stone and wooden and lifeless gods as having more power and more stature than God,
the living God, the omnipotent God.
How can anyone in Israel allow this offense to even be spoken, let alone stand?
To David's way of thinking, this is not just about territory, this is about honor -- it's about the truth.
Why is no one standing up for the truth?
Why is no one taking up the Lord's cause?
Doesn't anyone know that when you fight for the Lord, you fight with the Almighty God on your side.
He is the one who created the universe and upholds it by His hand, and don't they know
that you go in His strength and in His might?
So they need someone who will stand up to him.
I read about a little guy who knew how to handle bullies.
Three rough-looking men on motorcycles pulled up to a highway cafe.
Inside the cafe was a waitress, the cook, and one truck driver -- a little guy who was quietly eating his lunch.
The motorcyclists were angry because a truck had cut them off several miles back.
They decided to take out their revenge on that innocent man.
They grabbed his food, threw it across the room, and called him bad names.
The truck driver quietly got up, paid for his food, and walked out.
Unhappy, that they hadn't succeeded in provoking the little man into a fistfight,
one motorcyclist said to the waitress, "He sure wasn't much of a man, was he?"
The waitress replied, "I guess not."
Then, looking out the window, she added, "I guess he's not much of a truck driver either.
He just ran over three motorcycles on his way out the parking lot."
I always liked those stories where the little guy gets the best of the big guy.
Many of us might feel small in comparison to government, to large corporations,
and to systems that seem to dominate us.
For example, we feel there is little we can do to change the rise in gas prices.
The older we get, the harder it is for us to stay healthy.
Sometimes we wake up, wondering what big problem will challenge us on any given day.
Although we may feel totally overwhelmed by giant problems, there are still things we can do
when we are willing to make the changes.
We can learn what it takes by remembering the story of of David and Goliath.
This is is a story about a young teenager who faces a giant.
The giant, Goliath was said to be 9 feet, 9 inches tall.
He was a great warrior, and he was heavily armed and dangerous.
He was a leader of the Philistines which was an oppressive group who destroyed the coastal towns
of Israel and gradually moved inward, taking control of everything in their path.
This giant Goliath is built. He is strong.
He has to be strong.
Look at the armor that he wears.
The coat of armor that he wears to protect his chest and back weighs 125 pounds.
The point of the spear that he threw weighed 15 pounds all by itself.
So you can understand why no one in the army of Israel was willing to step forward and say,
"I will take this guy on his offer and I will fight him."
He was huge and intimidating.
And the Philistines used him well to gain the psychological advantage in this battle with Israel.
First, let us see what the Bible has to say about Saul, the king of Israel.
We will find that in the ninth chapter of I Samuel.
First, notice where Saul is from.
Verse 1 of chapter nine tells us that Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin.
This battle is taking place very close to the territory that has been assigned to the tribe of Benjamin.
This is Saul's home.
Saul's home is being endangered.
Next, notice how Saul is described in that ninth chapter.
The first thing we are told about Saul is that he is "a man of standing."
Then, in verse two, we are told that he is "impressive" and a man who is "without equal."
One of the reasons he is considered to be a man of standing, and impressive,
and one who is without equal in Israel is because he is at least a head taller than the other men in Israel.
So, you could say, that Saul is also a giant.
Not just because of his height, but also because of his stature
Now remember King Saul's response when challenged by the Philistines' giant.
Verse 11 says, "On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified."
"Dismayed and terrified."
The mighty King Saul of Israel was terrified of the giant from Philistia, and you can understand why.
Saul was probably at least 2-3 feet shorter than Goliath; and, was probably outmatched
by over a hundred pounds of muscle.
Not even the promise of great wealth, or of the king's daughter's hand in marriage,
and a lifetime exemption from taxes could entice anyone to come forward to take on Goliath
in a duel to fight to the finish -- a fight to the death.
No one stands a chance against him, and no one volunteered to fight Goliath.
Now David comes on the scene.
Before we look at David through the eyes of God, let us first look at him through the eyes of man,
or the world, or even through Goliath.
Let us look at how David looked to Goliath.
After 40 or more days of going out every morning and every night challenging anyone in Israel to a match,
finally someone shows up to take up his challenge.
But who is this that challenges the giant, the hero, Goliath?
It is no more than a boy.
A kid with a big mouth.
You could picture Goliath as a mean large vicious bull mastiff.
This was a breed of dog that was used by the ancients to take down mean bulls in a ring.
Some of these dogs could weigh as much as 200 pounds.
And then there is David whom we could liken to a little chihuahua.
A Chihuahua that is all bark, but the moment you take a step toward it,
they are more likely to run away.
But if they should be so foolish as to attack you, then they are easily taken care.
That is how David must have looked to Goliath.
That is how the world would have seen this contest.
David is young.
He was probably between the age of 16 to 18.
He is not filled out yet as a man, but is still growing in height and in stature.
We know this to be true because the armor that is given David does not fit, not only because it is Saul's,
and it just hangs on him.
He has not yet, physically, fully developed.
From the world's perspective, David is small, even a runt.
And, by his brothers, David is seen as a nuisance, and even obnoxious.
By Saul, David is seen as a fool.
David is seen as a boy who doesn't know what he is talking about.
He is seen as a boy who is naive and whose naivete has made him outgrow his britches.
In other words, he is seen as a dreamer.
I Samuel 17:32-37 says "David said to Saul, ' Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine;
your servant will go and fight him. ' "
Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man,
and he has been a warrior from his youth."
But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep.
When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it,
struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.
When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.
Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them,
because he has defied the armies of the living God.
The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me
from the hand of this Philistine."
Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you."
So, David rejected Saul's offer of wearing his armor.
It was much too heavy and would weigh him down.
He chose to take on the giant with only his slingshot.
In other words, David had to be himself.
Saul's armor was of no use to him.
David's skill was that he could sling rocks with his slingshot.
His only weapon was a sling shot.
And his ammunition was five small stones.
But David only needed one small stone.
David used a single shot -- one small stone to slay Goliath.
He used a simple, crude weapon to bring down the heavily, armored giant.
One shot to the forehead was all he needed.
With one powerful stroke David knocks the giant to the ground, and then, he kills Goliath.
Then Israel was free of this evil giant.
The story is a classic.
David was a man of faith.
He trusted in God.
He said to King Saul, "The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear,
will save me from the hand of the Philistine."
And David said to Goliath, "You come to me with sword and spear and javelin:
but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts."
David truly believed that God was with him, and that he would prevail over the much larger giant, Goliath.
David, the underdog, destroys an enemy who was much larger than himself.
The enemy was stronger, heavily armed and mean spirited.
But, in the end, he is destroyed by David, who was small, weaker and had no armor.
Because David prevailed, the nation of Israel now had a brighter future.
Their faith in God was restored, all because little David got rid of the big giant, Goliath.
Have you ever been overwhelmed with a giant of a problem or of a situation?
Have you ever had an experience when life seemed so complicated that you didn't know where to start?
Life has its obstacles, and some of them are so gigantic that we may feel completely helpless.
And there are times when we are not up to the task.
The story of David versus Goliath provides an example for us when it comes to facing
the "giants" in our lives.
Today, we all have giants to conquer.
You may have a sex addiction or you may be addicted to pornography.
You may be an abuse survivor or be in an abusive relationship.
In a bad economy, your finances may be your giant.
There are many things that affect our lives and become like horrible nine feet giants.
We can feel helpless against these giants in our own strength.
This is why we need to find our strength through our relationship with God.
You can do your part by reading your Bible and praying to God daily.
You can do your part by putting your faith in God.
God will do His part by conquering the giants in your life.
Jesus has already conquered all those giants on the cross, but many of us forget that today
in our busy stress filled lives.
However, David did not forget that it was God who conquered the giant.
We can conquer our giants with faith in God
Matthew 17:20 says He replied, "Because you have so little faith.
I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain,
'Move from here to there' and it will move.
Nothing will be impossible for you."
David understood what faith meant when he went up against Goliath.
Goliath was a huge man who could have ripped David in half with his two giant hands.
Goliath was a mountain of a man, and it was David's faith in God that destroyed that mountain of a man.
God wants us to realize that if we have faith in Him we can conquer all of our giants.
We can conquer our anxiety problems.
We can conquer our dependency problems.
You can conquer our financial problems.
If we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can conquer every giant that lies before us.
David was not a perfect man, he made his mistakes.
However, he trusted his life to God.
God conquered all of David's giants because David had faith in God.
David found his strength in God in everything he accomplished.
David was a great man of God who will spend eternity in heaven with God.
As Christians, we are also children of God.
None of us are perfect.
We make mistakes every day of our lives.
However, when we put our faith in God, He will conquer all of our giants.
There is nothing too hard for God.
When we trust in God, we will find our strength through Him.
Today, we need to accept the power of God to conquer all the giants that wreak havoc in our lives.
All we have to do is have a little faith, drop down on our knees and pray to Him.
We can do anything through God who strengthens you.
"From over hill and plain there comes the signal strain,
'Tis loyalty, loyalty, loyalty to Christ;
Its music rolls along, the hills take up the song,
Of loyalty, loyalty, yes, loyalty to Christ.
"On to victory! On to victory!"
Cries our great Commander, "On!"
We'll move at His command,
We'll soon possess the land,
Through loyalty, loyalty,
Yes, loyalty to Christ.
Come, join our loyal throng, we'll rout the giant wrong,
'Tis loyalty, loyalty, loyalty to Christ;
Where Satan's banners float we'll send the bugle note,
Of loyalty, loyalty, yes, loyalty to Christ."
Sermon adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White